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Archive for the ‘The Reading Journals’ Category

Haiga by Salil Chaturvedi

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giraffes

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PHOEBE HESKETH

Sunflowers and Silver Birch: A Memoir

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winter solstice
our son reads a fairy tale
to his unborn child

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winter night
I dreamed your garden lights
were fireflies
 
Reaching for green pears–
the pull
of an old scar

  for her mother
bluets
roots and all

hazy moon
the nun begins her journey
with a backward glance

 

an open window
somewhere
a woman’s wordless song


sweet peas
tremble on the trellis
the bride’s “I will”

smooth garden bench
a woman embroiders
a unicorn
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dew drops
on the dark rose
our reflections
 
yellow leaves
a girl plays hopscotch
by herself
 
starlight
on the harp strings
Christmas Eve
 
clay on the wheel I confess my faith
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winter night
he patiently untangles
her antique silver chain
 
cathedral garden
cardinals in the birdbath
scatter drops of light
 
the boy stands still
fingers splayed
above a starfish
 
birdsong
through open windows—
he lifts the veil
 
night flight
a young man fast asleep
beside his cello
 
dress by dress
the story of her life
day lilies close
 
soft Gullah
at the graveside…
blue glass shines
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This is amazing ….

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Source: Haiku and the Brain

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Psalm107

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My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.

Corrie ten Boom

The_Lady_and_the_Unicorn_Sight_det4

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t_s_eliot-still_point

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Jesus mel in ore,
in aure melos,
in corde jubilus:

Jesus to me is

honey in the mouth,

music in the ear,

a song in the heart.

Bernard of Clairvaux

Manuka-Honey

Translation from Bernard of Clairvaux, The Works of Bernard of Clairvaux: 2: On the Song of Songs I, trans. Kilian Walsh, intro. Corneille Halflants, Cistercian Fathers Series: Number 4 (Shannon: Irish University Press, 1971), 105-13.

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In a Station of a Metro

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

by Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound’s Precepts

In March 1913, Poetry published “A Few Don’ts by an Imagiste.” In it, imagist poet F. S. Flint, quoting Pound, defined the tenets of imagist poetry:

I. Direct treatment of the “thing,” whether subjective or objective.
II. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.
III. As regarding rhythm: to compose in sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of the metronome.

Oread
by H.D.

Whirl up, sea—

whirl your pointed pines,

splash your great pines

on our rocks,

hurl your green over us,

cover us with your pools of fir.

Images
by Richard Aldington

Like a gondola of green scented fruits
Drifting along the dark canals of Venice,
You, O exquisite one,
Have entered into my desolate city.

The blue smoke leaps
Like swirling clouds of birds vanishing;
So my love leaps forth toward you,
Vanishes and is renewed.

A rose-yellow moon in a pale sky
When the sunset is faint vermillion
In the mist among the tree-boughs
Art thou to me, my beloved.

A young beech tree on the edge of the forest
Stands still in the evening,
Yet shudders through all its leaves in the light air
And seems to fear the stars–
So are you still and so tremble.

The red deer are high on the mountain,
They are beyond the last pine-trees,
And my desires have run with them.

The flower which the wind has shaken
Is soon filled again with rain;
So does my heart fill slowly with tears
Until you return.

Red Wheelbarrow
by William Carlos Williams

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

l.
by e.e. cummings

l(a

le
af
fa
ll

s)
one
l

iness

* Read more poems by e.e. cummings:
https://thepoetryplace.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/e-e-cummings/

Nuance

Even the iris bends

when the butterfly lights upon it.

by Amy Lowell

Patterns
by Amy Lowell 

I walk down the garden-paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jeweled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden-paths.
My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whalebone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime-tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the plashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden-paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the
buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover.
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he
clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon–
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the
Duke.
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday se’nnight.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” I told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

Amy Lowell on Imagism (1917)

  1. To use the language of common speech, but to employ always the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.
  2. To create new rhythms -as the expression of new moods — and not to copy old rhythms, which merely echo old moods. We do not insist upon “free-verse” as the only method of writing poetry. We fight for it as for a principle of liberty. We believe that the individuality of a poet may often be better expressed in free-verse than in conventional forms. In poetry a new cadence means a new idea.
  3. To allow absolute freedom in the choice of subject. It is not good art to write badly of aeroplanes and automobiles, nor is it necessarily bad art to write well about the past. Webelieve passionately in the artistic value of modem life, but we wish to point out that there is nothing so uninspiring nor so old-fashioned as an aeroplane of the year 19 11.
  4. To present an image (hence the name: “Imagist”). We are not a school of painters, but we believe that poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous. It is for this reason that we oppose the cosmic poet, who seems to us to shirk the real difficulties of his art.
  5. To produce poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite.
  6. Finally, most of us believe that concentration is of the very essence of poetry.

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PIED BEAUTY

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise Him.

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THE WINDOVER
I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

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GOD’S GRANDEUR
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs–
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Another biography (with digitized facsimiles of works and letters)

 

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My new collection of poems
about birding and the spiritual life:

BEAL-Uncaged-BkCvr

UNCAGED
hard-copy * read online

WHAT NEVER FAILS

We went to the water
to see the Pelican –

the one, they say, who stabs her breast
and feeds her young with blood (like Christ),

but there was no bird like that
on the little islands by the pier.

There were Western Gulls instead,
crying out like Alcyone for Ceys,

flying over us like the ragged mists
of dreams we dream at dawn

and, waking, find
have told us the truth.

We were standing close together, just above
the water, like the Light Princess and her Prince,

when I noticed the cliff swallows
darting over the waves, under the pier

where they have hidden their nests
and are feeding the future

with a constant love
that never fails.

jb

 

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For want of a nail
the shoe was lost,

for want of a shoe
the horse was lost,

for want of a horse
the knight was lost,

for want of a knight
the battle was lost,

for want of a battle
the kingdom was lost.

So a kingdom was lost—
all for want of a nail.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA
The Nail

JLANail

z

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I am a TOTALLY COURAGEOUS woman —
my HEART is bigger than the sky.

jb

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“Be ye therefore STRONG and courageous
for your work will be rewarded.”

2 Chronicles 15:7

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pomegrantes

“The things you bring forth
are a paradise of pomegranates”

Songs of Songs 4:13

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               for James Lee Jobe

Remember when we used to be the river?
It occurs to me that we are time.
Look what a fantastic place love finds
When we open ourselves above these empires
Of dust that once were sleep or weapons,
Ocean after ocean that we ran toward.

How could we know the way?
Look at the stars. What are they doing?
Our children rushing past in an insomnia
Our soul demands, so that we never lose
Our place in this river.  And then, suddenly,
They are gone. So much music they are.

We remain the river. Kind of  an ivory labyrinth
Borges spoke of when he was a river.
The images continue to occupy us
Even as we move through the great
Corridors of the heart. We find ourselves
Still breathing. We become an epitaph.

D.R. Wagner

Medusa’s Kitchen
(more poems by D.R. Wagner)

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dantesaid

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How Can It Be?

How can it be that you are there
Quiet, hidden and at peace
In the long still silence of the monastery cell
And then, joyful and clamorous
In the eternal songs
Of thunder, waterfall and fire?

How can it be
That, from the first beginnings and beyond,
Your gentle love
Fills to teeming fullness and repletion
The atom and the universe, unceasingly?

How can it be that you gaze
Upon my frailty
Only to love
So deeply what you see?

Daniel Kerdin
Of Poetry and God (2016)

jean-francois-millet-the-angelus-l-angelus

L’Angélus de Millet

Conveyed there by an artist’s hand
In peasant garb, at harvest time,
A couple in the twilight stand
As church bells, in the distance, chime
And ring out to remind the pair
And others who are at their toil
That here and now is time for prayer
And time to leave the busy soil
And so the tools of work are laid
Aside, while labour turns to rest,
And there the Angelus is prayed
Her hands are joined, his cap is pressed
Against his breast, their heads are bowed
The sun sets silent as they say
The reverential words aloud
Which they repeat, this hour, each day:
An angel’s pledge do they avow?
Or does some grief inflame their prayer?
The basket holds its secret now
The unseen coffin, hidden there.

Daniel Kerdin
Of Poetry and God (2016)

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“Human nature is so faulty that it can resist any amount of grace and most of the time it does … It is easy for any child to pick out the faults in the sermon on his way home from church every Sunday. It is impossible for him to find out the hidden love that makes a man, in spite of his intellectual limitations, his neuroticism, his own lack of strength, give up his life to the service of God’s people, however bumblingly he may go about it … It is what is invisible that God sees and that the Christian must look for. Because he knows the consequences of sin, he knows how deep you have to go to find love … To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness. Charity is hard and endures.

Flannery O’Conner
Letter to Cecil Dawkins in Pilgrim Souls: A Collection of Spiritual Autobiographies, ed. Amy Mandelker and Elizabeth Powers (1999), 539-40.

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isaiah-32-2

1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness,
and as for princes, they shall rule in justice.

2 And a man shall be as in a hiding-place from the wind,
and a covert from the tempest —
as by the watercourses in a dry place,
as in the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

Isaiah 32:1-2

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“I began to mentally climb the imagined staircase. I climbed and I climbed to who knows where. I climbed with my shadow in front of me, broken by alternate vertical and horizontal planes, leading me somewhere.

Thus I climbed up through passages of heaven
or I climbed up through the tunnels of hell
or I climbed through here or there —
I am not sure for yet I cannot tell.
Shadows on the stairs followed my feet
I heard nothing else but footsteps and heartbeats.

Whenever or wherever I saw staircases, I thought they were meant for me to climb.” (p. 36)

Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay
How Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move?: Inside my Austic Mind (2008)
HowCanITalk

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Now available from Lulu Press,
JANE BEAL’s new poetry collection:

TRANSFIGURATION

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“Jane’s perspective, from being an international midwife and a talented writer, gives rise to the absolutely beautiful poems contained in this little book. She incorporates sweetly the people she has served in her birth practice and travels. She also teaches us some midwifery along the way! Jane’s great faith in our Lord adds so much to this labor-of-love volume. I highly recommend this book. It should be in the possession of all midwives and mothers.”

Jan Tritten
Editor of Midwifery Today
Author of Birth Wisdom, Vol. 1 & 2

“Birth is sacred experience: a time when the formless takes form.  In Jane Beal’s new book, Transfiguration: A Midwife’s Birth Poems, we are taken through beautiful poetic form, closer to the spirit of birth. We feel both joy and grief. But who are we to question the ways of the spirit? As much as we try to understand birth, its mystery remains a miracle – and that is what draws us into Transfiguration.”

Cathy Daub
President of BirthWorks International
Author of Birthing in the Spirit

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LightPrincess1

Perhaps the best thing for the princess would have been to fall in love. But how a princess who had no gravity could fall into anything is a difficulty–perhaps THE difficulty. As for her own feelings on the subject, she did not even know that there was such a beehive of honey and stings to be fallen into. But now I come to mention another curious fact about her.

The palace was built on the shores of the loveliest lake in the world, and the princess loved this lake more than father or mother. The root of this preference no doubt, although the princess did not recognise it as such, was, that the moment she got into it, she recovered the natural right of which she had been so wickedly deprived–namely, gravity.

Whether this was owing to the fact that water had been employed as the means of conveying the injury, I do not know. But it is certain that she could swim and dive like the duck that her old nurse said she was.

~ George MacDonald
from Ch. 8 “Try a Drop of Water”
of The Light Princess

LightPrincess2

The Prince’s Song

“As a world that has no well,
Darting bright in forest dell;
As a world without the gleam
Of the downward-going stream;
As a world without the glance
Of the ocean’s fair expanse;
As a world where never rain
Glittered on the sunny plain;
Such, my heart, thy world would be,
if no love did flow in thee.

As a world without the sound
Of the rivulets underground;
Or the bubbling of the spring
Out of darkness wandering;
Or the mighty rush and flowing
Of the river’s downward going;
Or the music-showers that drop
On the outspread beech’s top;
Or the ocean’s mighty voice,
When his lifted waves rejoice;
Such, my soul, thy world would be,
if no love did sing in thee.

Lady, keep thy world’s delight;
Keep the waters in thy sight.
Love hath made me strong to go,
For thy sake, to realms below,
Where the water’s shine and hum
Through the darkness never come;
Let, I pray, one thought of me Spring,
a little well, in thee;
Lest thy loveless soul be found
Like a dry and thirsty ground.”

George MacDonald
from Ch. 14 “This is Very Kind of You”
of The Light Princess

LightPrincess3

Illustrations by Dorothy Lathrop

p.s. Read the whole story:
GeorgeMacDonald-TheLightPrincess

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Chantwood2016

Mockingbird in Love

by Jane Beal

now appears in Chantwood Magazine 2 (May 2016)

(page 43!)

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AJones-AlmondOrchard-CvrMy friend, colleague, and fellow-poet, Dr. Andy Jones, recently published another meaningful collection of poems:  In the Almond Orchard: Coming Home from War. The book:

“represents the experiences of American veterans who have served overseas, and who are readjusting to life in the United States, especially California, after their service. The book was made possible by support from YoloArts and the California Arts Council. Profits from the sale of this book will fund the Charles Ternes Creativity Prize for Veteran Students at the University of California, Davis.” ~ UC Davis University Writing Program

This is a sequel to two other fine collections, Split Stock and the poetry-and-essay collection, co-written with his wife, author Kate Duren, Where’s Jukie?

I’ve read the newest book and enjoyed it very much. Some of my favorite poems from it are the title poem, “In the Almond Orchard,” and “Secret Milestones,” “Flirtations with Loss,” “Out,” “Goodbye to Elvis Costello,” “Gifts and Prizes,” “The Chosen,” and “Conversion.” Lines from other poems stand out in my memory:

Wearing your coat,

your son climbed

the quaking aspen

~ from “It’s Your Funeral”

&

Note the scar tissue on the tongue

~ from “The March”

&

Thread the needle of my imagination

~ from “Overseas, A Tailor Regrets the Absence of his Beloved”

I appreciate the thoughtfulness and insight in the poems Dr. Andy Jones has written for In the Almond Orchard: Coming Home from War.

Any reader will.

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